3/25/16

505 of the Appalachian Trail's Roughest Miles in a Pair of Walmart Running Shoes that Cost $16.87

Blisters, plantar fasciitis, sprained ankles, torn muscles and tendons are all painful and good ways to bring a hiking trip to a grinding halt.  Can the right shoes or boots make the difference in preventing injury and pain?  If so, who would dare to skimp on footwear while undertaking a thru-hike? I did, and my only regret is not doing it earlier.

If you've thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail you have probably heard of or met, Warren Doyle.  If not, he leads thru-hiking trips with the support of a couple vehicles leap frogging north on the trail in sections, with Warren hiking each section southbound while the group hikes northbound. If you are hiking northbound you are likely to bump into Warren and company at some point, and I was fortunate to cross paths with Warren many times in 2015. He wasn't exactly what I expected. Having heard about a man that hiked the Appalachian Trail 16 times (prior to completing his 17th trip in 2015) I was surprised to see the lack of fancy equipment he used. His glasses were held together with tape, he was using an 70s era ski pole for a hiking stick, and had Frog Toggs rain gear and Starter running shoes, both from Walmart.